American Babe

27274352 American Babe by Babe Walker

***This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 6/28/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Babe Walker thought she had done it all. After all, she’s survived the highly exclusive social hierarchies of Bel Air, traipsed around Europe in true white-girl fashion, and left her mark on several of the best rehab facilities in the United States. But now Babe is about to enter a terrifying new world: Middle America.
After a freak accident that was definitely not Babe’s fault, her estranged mother offers her the perfect escape from LA: an invite to her grandfather’s eightieth birthday party in Maryland, of all places. Babe’s journey throws her headlong into elementary school classrooms full of small, unfashionable people and pizza buffet restaurants that will haunt her nightmares and eventually back to Los Angeles, thank goodness. Tossed together with her cousins—basic preteen Cara and mature and preternaturally stylish Knox—Babe learns that connecting with someone on an intimate, familial level might be the most rewarding experience there is…
Besides being thin, of course.

My thoughts:

I absolutely adore these books. They make me laugh so much and they are just plain fun. I read the first White Girl Problems book when it first came out and I didn’t read Psychos, but am definitely going to go back and do so now after this one. I forgot how much I liked them! Babe uses a lot of slang and a lot of modern references, which will date the book over time, but it is great for now. I really enjoyed reading about her developing more of a family relationship with the characters in this book and seeing how “normal” people live. She also gets to learn a bit of responsibility in this book. Though she can be a bit obnoxious in her behaviors and how spoiled she is, I still find it really entertaining, because I know I would be the exact same way if I was wealthy. 🙂 I’m not sure if it’s good to admit that or not, but there it is.

If you’re looking for a fun read this summer, then this would be it! I can’t say that I’ll be buying it for my school library due to content, but I will definitely recommend to some friends.

My rating: 5/5

BookCon in Chicago

Hey again! This will (probably) be my last post for now about BEA/BookCon and this was my final day spent in Chicago. BookCon is kind of attached to BEA, but open to the public and run by a different company (I think). My coworkers/friends drove up Friday night after school and joined me for BookCon on Saturday. They were super excited and I was super exhausted, but happy to have friends to hang with for at least one of the days.

We had done our research about BookCon and knew we needed to get up early the next morning to get in line, but we grossly misjudged how early apparently. We got there a little over an hour before the autograph/wristband area opened, which was still 3 hours before BookCon actually started and we were overwhelmed by the massive line stretching to what seemed like an infinite point. We walked over from the hotel into the convention center, found the line, and had to follow it over a skywalk, down some escalators, and to a whole other building essentially…and there ended up being a LOT of people behind up before it was all said and done. Luckily, the wristband area was fairly well-organized and things moved quickly. We were actually able to get pretty much all of the wristbands we wanted, even though we were so far back in the line (or so it seemed). I was actually pretty impressed with the organization and manners of people, after some things I had read about past BookCons.

After getting our wristbands, we had to go wait in another line for the show floor to actually open and we had some fun there playing with Snapchat and maybe making fun of people around us (I would never!). Okay, really, I have to say it, there was just someone around us who smelled really bad and we had to laugh to make it through. Here we are in one of the lines and me with a sign at some point in the day:

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I had seen that there was going to be a Harry Potter wall in the Scholastic booth so that was one of my stops (since I couldn’t get into the Penguin breakfast, I was so close!) while they waited for the Sylvia Day signing—so not my cup of tea. The wall asked for you to tell why you loved Harry Potter or why it had impacted you. I was trying to show off my HP tattoo in the second photo, but obviously that didn’t work, so I will add a pic of it as well. Obviously, I’m a bit obsessed!

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We were walking around the floor picking up giveaways and ARCs before some of the signings and we ran into Richelle Mead. I have to admit that I was only just reading one of her books for the first time (while I was at BEA actually), but my friend Candice about lost her mind. She was like I was when I met Jennifer Niven. 🙂  Richelle was kind enough to take some pictures with us and chat a little bit. She even signed the copy of The Glittering Court that I had with me for our school library when Candice saw her again later. IMG_3019

I missed the James Dashner signing while waiting in line for the Property Brothers (I got caught up in hype and excitement!), so that was a little disappointing, but I met Drew and Jonathan! Drew is super cute by the way…okay, Jonathan is too, but I’m a Drew fan. Their line moved pretty slowly due to a holdup with the money table, so it took quite a while to make it through there, I want to say close to 2 1/2 hours in one line. But, at one point, they came out into the crowd because they knew we had been waiting so long, which I thought was super cool of them.

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My last signing of the day was Jennifer Niven (yes, again!). Is it getting creepy at this point? I just wanted to talk to her again and get a copy of All the Bright Places signed, since it is my absolute favorite. It was a pretty slow-moving line, but she was kind enough to chat with everyone, so I can’t fault her for that. I talked to her again and my friend Julie hyped me up, telling her how much I talked about her book. 🙂 Thanks, Julie! We have already put it into the hands of a student since we got back to read over the summer. I didn’t get a picture with her again, but I got a picture of her. Also, it was her birthday! I’m hoping that meeting fans and signing books is her idea of a fun birthday celebration.

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People were packing up booths and we were wandering out, when we came upon the massage both.  They were still working hard, so Julie decided to take advantage. I had never had a massage before and had a weird fear of it, but they talked me out of it and I got a back massage before we left the convention center. It was pretty nice, I’ll admit…but what I would’ve given for a foot massage (I was ready to cut them off and be done with it by that point!). They were offering one, but I was not about to subject anyone to my sweaty feet that had been in my stinky tennis shoes all day! I’m more considerate than that. 🙂

Would I do BookCon again? Probably not if I did BEA the days before, but I would if I had friends that really wanted to go again. It was fun nerding out with others who get it! I did get this awesome t-shirt out of the day:

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Here is my final stash from BEA and BookCon, stacked by month they come out—a little overwhelming and awesome!

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Check out the rest of my blog to read about my days at BEA.

Book Expo America (BEA)–Day 3

Day 3 was the last day of the actual BEA event, BookCon (post coming soon) was a separate event that was open to the public. Friday was a more laid-back day for me…thank goodness, but still packed with good stuff if that makes sense. I wasn’t as in a rush or as stressed to get to certain things I guess. Plus, I felt like I had everything figured out by this point, which made things better as well. This was also the first day that I actually sat down and ate something decent for lunch. I ran into some girls from other blogs and sat with them while I ate. Shout-out to the girls at Brittany’s Book Rambles and Michelle! I enjoyed listening to their commentary about things I know nothing about, haha.

Anyway, on to the books and authors. I got in line pretty much first thing–after grabbing The One Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett which author, Chelsea Sedoti, sold me on during a panel Thursday–for Emily Giffin’s new book and to meet her. I was pretty stoked about meeting Emily, as I have been reading her books since Something Borrowed came out. She was absolutely beautiful and seemed super-sweet, if you can tell that much about someone in the 10 seconds you spend with them during this process. I had already been approved on Netgalley for this title, but wanted a physical copy (just not the same, you know?!).

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I had been waiting patiently (a lot) for Danielle Paige’s signing as well and couldn’t wait to meet her. She has been an author that I follow on Twitter and talk to sometimes, so it was exciting to tell her who I was. She is always super nice online and seems to interact with a lot of her fans, which is a great quality for an author to have. I hate that the picture didn’t turn out very well, but I guess that’s what happens when you have to trust a stranger to take photos for you. Can’t wait to read this one, but will wait until closer to release date.

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I also got to meet Kami Garcia (who was hilarious!) and Kristi Yamaguchi (one of my childhood idols!) Friday. Even my non-reader friends knew who Kristi was, so I got a lot of love on Facebook for that one. 🙂  Side note: Her children’s book looks super cute!

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I am a fan of Pretty Little Liars, so I went to the signing of Sara Shepard’s new book as one of my last stops for the day. I was one of the first in the “unofficial” line (all my BEA folks know how that goes), and I found a chair to sit in while I waited…hallelujah! The girl organizing the lines for Disney on Friday was awesome, she was friendly and funny. I had interactions with her earlier in the day waiting for another Melissa de la Cruz signing…I’m not sure what happened to those pictures, but it was the second book I had signed from her during BEA. I’m excited to read this book and to start fresh with a series from her. I always wanted to go back and read the PLL books, but it was too daunting with all my other TBR books since there are so many in the series.

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And, finally, here’s a picture of my haul from Day 3, got some really neat stuff on this day.

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I had to pack my suitcase Friday night to put in the car Saturday morning before BookCon started, since we had to check out of the hotel before we went. So, these are my books from all three days of BEA. I would say I did pretty well, may have to be a little more selective if I go in the future, especially if it’s in NYC. This is what it looked like and it weighed a TON. Thank goodness I didn’t have to try to haul it home on a train or airplane. Also, thank goodness they make expandable suitcases!

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I had an excellent time at BEA. Yes, I complained about how tired I was and how bad my body hurt…but would I do it again? Absolutely! However, I would probably skip BookCon in the future, unless there was someone I was just dying to meet. More on BookCon soon!

Thanks for reading!

 

Book Expo America (BEA) 2016–Day 1

I had the great fortune of being able to go to Book Expo America (BEA) this year, since it was held in Chicago, which is only a train ride away for me. Since it is usually in NYC, I had not even considered it an option in the past. Since it is moving there again next year, I might need to try to save money! I guess that means I had a good time! Though I am thoroughly exhausted and am not sure how long it will take me to recover, I am so glad I went to both BEA and BookCon. For the next few posts, I will be covering my different days there and filling you in on my experience.

Day 1, Wednesday, May 11:

My day started at 1:30 am, leaving to drive over to Carbondale, IL to catch the 3:15 am train to Chicago Union Station. I have taken this train before to Chicago and it is a pretty good experience. It is the train that runs from New Orleans, and it is a comfortable car. You have plenty of room to stretch out, they do their best to keep you in a pair of seats by yourself, and they keep the lights turned down for sleeping. Unfortunately, I got stuck sitting across from a big man who took full advantage of sleeping (and snoring loudly!) for the whole 6-hour ride. I think he forgot where he was, he kept letting his phone ring without answering it, and even had the nerve to fart, yes FART, when he woke in the morning. Seriously?! You are in public, dude!

Anyway, I arrived in Chicago right at 9:00 am and took my first Uber ride–thanks, Mildred!–to the Convention Center and hotel. I was kind of terrified of Uber, mostly because I was afraid I would have to make awkward conversation…that’s the kind of thing that scares me, haha, but it was a fine experience. I was able to check into the hotel early and had a nice conversation about my hometown in Southeast Missouri with the lady working the front desk. She drives through pretty often to visit family and was asking me about places to stay and things to do. From there, I unpacked and headed down to the convention center to explore before it officially opened.

For the first day, the show floor was only open for the afternoon and there wasn’t as much going on as far as author visits, but there were a few I wanted to meet. While standing in my first line of many waiting for the showfloor to open, I met a few other bloggers and chatted with them a bit. (Shout-out to Nikki at Take Me Away blog, Amber at Du Livre, and Jessica at A Great Read) Once the floor opened, the chaos began. I quickly learned what to try and pick up and what to not touch…trust me, those publishers are on the ball! In some situations, it was hard to tell what was on display and what was being given away (talking to you, Harlequin!), so I got scolded a few times.

First stop after doing some exploring, was the line to meet and get See Me signed by Nicholas Sparks. This was exciting as a fan of his books, but I have to admit he was the only one the whole time that didn’t give you the opportunity to get your book personalized, which was a bit disappointing. I met some fun people in that line that I ran into a few more times. I left their cards at home today, so I will have to see if I can share their info on my next post. Anyway, here I am with Nicholas Sparks.

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Next up, I headed over to the line to get a copy of Unashamed by Lecrae, hoping that I can find one of my high school students that this book would have a healthy impact on. We also have classes that read memoirs/biographies for their curriculum, so I am always looking for ones that will interest my students. Lecrae is performing at my town’s fair this year as the headliner, so it will mean even more. He and his publisher were even nice enough to ask me to come back at the end of his signing and they gave me another copy that he signed to the high school library.

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Scott McCreery was next, since I watched him while on American Idol and have a friend who is a fan now. I had this copy signed to my friend, but was able to snag another copy a different day to add to the one we already ordered for my school library. Again, I am always looking for memoirs/biographies that will be of interest.

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So, by this point, I was already exhausted, and knew it was going to be a tiring couple of days, but I was already excited about my finds. This picture shows all the things I was able to get on Day 1…knowing that was only a half day’s worth of things, I was pumped for Day 2. There are some good ones in here that I am excited about, including a new one by Room author Emma Donoghue.

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Exciting stuff, huh? Keep watching for posts from Days 2 & 3, as well as my day at BookCon.

Lucky Me

Lucky Me Lucky Me by Saba Kapur

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 4/5/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

For eighteen year old Gia Winters, having a movie star for a father, a former Playboy bunny as a mother, a Hollywood mansion, and a closet stocked with Chanel is simply another day in the life.
But her world is turned upside down when her father mysteriously hires a group of bodyguards to trail the family 24/7 and threatening phone calls from a “Dr. D” start buzzing daily.
When Gia scores the coveted role of Miss Golden Globe, she is forced to strike a deal with her bodyguard, Jack, who is almost as arrogant as he is attractive. Juggling Gia’s romantic failures, fashion faux pas, and celebrity obsessions, the duo investigate a series of clues with the help of a police cadet, who has a special set of skills and an even better set of dimples.
But with the Golden Globes just around the corner, danger levels rise higher than her stilettos as Gia learns that the biggest secrets might be the ones buried in her own home.
In a place where the hills have eyes, high school nemeses, bad hair days, raging parties, and stolen kisses, there can only be trouble for a girl who was just starting to consider herself lucky.

My thoughts:

This is the kind of book that is pretty much right up my alley, especially after reading some fantasy. This is more of a light mystery with some humor thrown in. While I did enjoy this book, it felt reeealllly long to me for some reason. Don’t know if it was just the reading mood I was in or what was going on. The author has a good writing style and found just the right moments to make the reader laugh at silly thoughts or comments. I thought I kind of figured out who Gia’s stalker was, but was waiting for a twist to be thrown in that never really came. It was still a good ending though and I was okay with how things were resolved. I would recommend to anyone that likes things like the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella or anything along those lines. I can see some of my high school girls really enjoying this book, so I will be purchasing for my library (think I already ordered actually).

My rating: 4/5

In Defense of the Princess

In Defense of the Princess: How Plastic Tiaras and Fairytale Dreams Can Inspire Smart, Strong Women In Defense of the Princess by Jerramy Fine

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 3/22/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s no secret that most girls, at some point, love all things princess: the poofy dresses, the plastic tiaras, the color pink. Even grown-up women can’t get enough of royal weddings and royal gossip. Yet critics claim the princess dream sets little girls up to be weak and submissive, and allows grown women to indulge in fantasies of rescue rather than hard work and self-reliance.
Enter Jerramy Fine – an unabashed feminist who is proud of her life-long princess obsession and more than happy to defend it. Through her amusing life story and in-depth research, Fine makes it clear that feminine doesn’t mean weak, pink doesn’t mean inferior, and girliness is not incompatible with ambition. From 9th century Cinderella to modern-day Frozen, from Princess Diana to Kate Middleton, from Wonder Woman to Princess Leia, Fine valiantly assures us that princesses have always been about power, not passivity. And those who love them can still be confident, intelligent women.
Provocative, insightful, but also witty and personal, In Defense of the Princess empowers girls, women, and parents to dream of happily ever after without any guilt or shame.

My thoughts:

Well, let me start by saying there could not be a more perfect book for me to have come across. Obviously (hence the title Library Princess), I have always thought that I am a princess. It doesn’t hurt that my mom named me Sara, which means princess. I love all things princess, sparkly, and pink and am about the most girly person you will ever meet. I enjoyed the first part of this book and found I really related to the things that were being said. However, as the book went on, I did feel like it was a bit repetitive…keep in mind that I am NOT a nonfiction reader, so this was a stretch for me. I really did like reading about all the actual royal princesses as well and seeing the things they were all involved in. Overall, the writing style was good and the author was humorous, but this is definitely targeted to a specific audience. I do think I should recommend it to my some of my princess “critics” though…ahem, MOM. 🙂 The overall theme is a good one, that princess are powerful, not weak and sensitive.

My favorite line (remember this is an ARC so it could change):

“Maybe instead of telling our girls that their brains are filled with too much princess, we should focus on telling our boys that their brains don’t contain nearly enough prince.”

Preach, sister! 🙂

My rating: 4/5

Mean Sisters

Mean Sisters Mean Sisters by Lindsay Emory

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 3/17/16

Summary from Goodreads:

Margot Blythe is a twenty-something year old who can’t seem to let her college glory days go. After all, everyone deserves a family of ‘sisters’ like she had. When she’s invited to speak at her alma mater, her homecoming reception isn’t exactly what she expected. Tragedy strikes and Margot has to step up, especially when foul play is suspected.

She’s going to save her fifty frazzled ‘sisters’, keep the suspicious (but dangerously cute) police officer at bay and find out the truth – could a sister have committed such an unimaginable sin as murder?

Margot is going to learn the real bond of sisterhood and maybe, just maybe, discover where she truly belongs.

My thoughts:

This is definitely what I would consider a light read, but a fun one. It reminded me of the show Scream Queens in some ways, with the sorority and murders happening. Though the main characters were hardcore sorority girls, I found them likable, though I know some would be annoyed. I did figure out pretty easily who the murderer was so I wasn’t surprised by the ending, but that didn’t ruin the book for me. I won’t be buying this for my high school library, but sometimes I just like a fun, quick read and this was exactly that.

My rating: 4/5